Vampire or scavenger?

lkc

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Isopod
I have found two of these isopods in my reef tank, both look to be female. Also have removed about 20 tiny babies. About 10mm? The last one was found on the Gracilaria rock and may have been eating it because I saw some red in her belly. There are no fish in the tank. Live rock was cultured off the coast of Tarpon Springs Florida, where I live. Can anyone identify and is it safe to put a fish in? Tank has been up since the end of August.
 

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lkc

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I personally wouldn't chance it. Looks too close to what came out of this wrasse: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/tongue-eating-isopod.208068/#post-2379322

@The Gob might be able to provide a more definitive ID though.
Yes, you are right. But the EYE's......The eyes on the isopod in the wrasse video are tiny and the eyes on my isopods are HUGE! And I've noticed that with other fish that have been attacked by isopods, the eyes on the isopods are tiny. Hence I'm thinking it's not the same pod.
 

The Gob

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Cirolanid- parasitic. The similar looking harmless Sphaeromatids will completely ball up like terrestrial "roly polies" and they have smaller eyes.

ETA-- These aren't the "tongue replacers", they'll attach anywhere on the body and detach when done feeding.
 

lkc

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Well, she can ball up. The Cirolanid's can't ball up.
I guess there's only one way to find out. I need a Guinea fish.
 

lkc

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Cirolanid- parasitic. The similar looking harmless Sphaeromatids will completely ball up like terrestrial "roly polies" and they have smaller eyes.

ETA-- These aren't the "tongue replacers", they'll attach anywhere on the body and detach when done feeding.
Gob, if indeed there are more in the tank, will they leave a visible mark where they attache and feed? One that I can see? I put 3 black mollies in about 6 days ago and they are doing well and their skin is black like velvet. I haven't seen any marks on them at all.
 

The Gob

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I've never seen one leave a mark but I suppose a large one could. Mollies have fairly large scales. Cirolanid will attach between the scales which wouldn't leave a mark but rather a slightly distorted scale for a short while after detaching. Close inspection at dawn/lights on would be best bet for spotting damage. Red lighting fish a couple of hours after lights out may yield results as well.

Do the Mollies stay near the surface or go down into the rocks and sandbed? If they stay at the surface the isopods will find easier pickings. Cirolanids are primarily nocturnal and will latch onto to fish sleeping in the rocks/near the substrate.
 

lkc

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They go down onto the sand. Prime location if you are an isopod. I'll keep checking after lights out and before lights on. I haven't seen anything yet. Thanks!
 
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